In order to qualify for the Start-up Visa Program, you must:
- Have a qualifying business
- Have a letter of support from a Designated Organization
- Meet the language requirements and
- Have enough money to settle and live in Canada before you make money from your business
What is the Start-up Visa Program?
The Start-up Visa Program is designed to boost the economy by inviting skilled and entrepreneurial immigrants to build their businesses in Canada. Your start-up must be able to innovate, generate jobs and compete on a global scale.
What is a qualifying business?
Your business must meet all of the following criteria:
- at the time you get a commitment from a Designated Organization:
- each applicant hold 10% or more of the voting rights attached to all shares of the corporation outstanding at that time (up to 5 people can apply as owners) AND
- applicants and the Designated Organization jointly hold more than 50% of the total voting rights attached to all shares of the corporation outstanding at that time
- at the time you receive permanent residence:
- you provide active and ongoing management of this business from within Canada
- an essential part of the operations of the business happens in Canada
- this business is incorporated in Canada
Proving business support
Before you can apply for the Start-up Visa Program, you must have the support of a Designated Organization – business groups that have been approved to invest in or support possible start-ups. The three kinds of Designated Organizations are (i) Venture Capital Funds, (ii) Angel Investor Groups, or (iii) Business Incubators. You just need support from one of these groups. They will provide you a letter of support, which you must include with your application.
The Designated Organizations choose which business proposals to review. Each organization has its own intake process for proposals and criteria used to assess them (i.e. you may be asked to present your business concept in person or submit a detailed business plan).
If a Designated Organization reviews your business idea, it will assess the potential of your proposal and whether or not it will succeed and will provide the letter of support if they decide to invest in your start-up.
Designated Venture Capital Funds
You must get at least one of these groups to agree to invest a minimum of CDN$200,000:
- BDC Venture Capital
- Celtic House Venture Partners
- Extreme Venture Partners LLP
- Golden Venture Partners Fund, LP
- Impression Ventures
- Information Venture Partners Management Inc.
- Innovation Platform Capital International LP
- iNovia Capital Inc.
- Lumira Capital
- Nova Scotia Innovation Corporation (o/a Innovacorp)
- OMERS Ventures Management Inc.
- Pangaea Ventures Ltd.
- PRIVEQ Capital Funds
- Real Ventures
- Relay Ventures
- ScaleUp Venture Partners, Inc.
- Top Renergy Inc.
- Vanedge Capital Limited Partnership
- Version One Ventures
- Westcap Management Ltd.
- Yaletown Venture Partners Inc.
Designated Angel Investor Groups
You must get one or more investors connected to these groups to agree to invest a minimum of CDN$75,000:
- Canadian International Angel Investors
- Ekagrata Inc.
- Golden Triangle Angel Network
- Oak Mason Investments Inc.
- Southeastern Ontario Angel Network
- Southwestern Ontario Angel Group
- TenX Angel Investors Inc.
- VANTEC Angel Network Inc.
- York Angel Investors Inc.
Designated Business Incubators
You do not need to secure a financial investment from a business incubator but rather you must be accepted into one of these programs:
- Alacrity Foundation
- Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
- Biomedical Commercialization Canada Inc. (operating as Manitoba Technology Accelerator)
- Calgary Technologies Inc.
- Creative Destruction Lab
- Empowered Startups Ltd.
- Extreme Innovations
- Genesis Centre
- Highline BETA Inc.
- Interactive Niagara Media Cluster o/a Innovate Niagara
- Invest Ottawa
- Knowledge Park o/a Planet Hatch
- Launch Academy
- LaunchPad PEI Inc.
- NEXT Canada
- Real Investment Fund III L.P. o/a FounderFuel
- Ryerson Futures Inc.
- Spark Commercialization and Innovation Centre
- Spring Activator
- The DMZ at Ryerson University
- TSRV Canada Inc. (operating as Techstars Canada)
- Waterloo Accelerator Centre
- York Entrepreneurship Development Institute
In order to get support from a Designated Organization, contact them directly and convince them that you have a business idea worth supporting. The process to pith your idea will be different for each organization as they each have their own requirements. The good news is that you do are not required to invest any of your own money. The investment required all must come from one of the Designated Organizations.
Do you have what it takes to launch an innovative start-up in Canada? If so, contact AllCleared to find out how we can help you with immigration to Canada.